Saint Patrick’s Society for the Foreign Missions

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St. Patrick's Society for the Foreign Missions (Latin Societas Sancti Patritii pro Missionibus ad Exteros) is an Irish Roman Catholic society of apostolic life composed of missionary priests, sometimes known as the Kiltegan Fathers from its headquarters at Kiltegan, County Wicklow. Its members use the postnominal initials of S.P.S.


It was founded on St Patrick's Day, 17 March 1932 by Monsignor Patrick Whitney (1894 - 1942) at Kiltegan, County Wicklow, Ireland. Its original aim was the Christian evangelization of Nigeria. In 1951, the society expanded its missionary activities outside of Nigeria.[1]

In the 1950's they society expanded, building a new college in Kiltegan, and opening a House of Studies in Sutton House, Rochestown, Douglas in Cork, with seminarians attending lectures in University College Cork.

As of 2008, the society has 307 priests on four continents including the countries of Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda, Grenada, Brazil, the United States, Italy, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

The Latin motto of the Society is Caritas Christi Urget Nos (2 Corinthians 5:14) or, in English, 'Christ's love compels us'.

Abuse cases[edit]

In May 2011 allegations of sexual abuse by a member of the society in Africa were made on the RTÉ programme Prime Time Investigates.[2][3]

Jeremiah McGrath of the Kiltegan Fathers was convicted in Liverpool, England in May 2007 for facilitating abuse by a paedophile named Billy Adams. McGrath had given Adams £20,000 in 2005 and Adams had used the money to impress a 12-year-old girl whom he then raped over a six-month period. McGrath denied knowing about the abuse but admitted having a brief sexual relationship with Adams. His appeal in January 2008 was dismissed.[4]

In 2003 the society paid €325,000 for abuse committed by Fr. Peter Kennedy of the Kiltegan Fathers in 1982.[5]


  1. ^ "History". St. Patrick's Missionary Society. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  2. ^ RTÉ News Archived from the original on May 27, 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Morning Ireland: Regina Doherty discusses latest hearing into Portlaoise baby deaths". Morning Ireland. RTÉ News. Retrieved 2015-05-20. 
  4. ^ "Priest who helped groom child for sex loses appeal". Irish Independent. 2008-01-24. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  5. ^ Anita Guidera (3 September 2003). "Bishop is urged to tell all he knew of abuse case". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2015-05-20. 

External links[edit]